MONT-LAURIER, Que. — Gilles Duceppe accused Justin Trudeau Monday of having lied about the sale of Canadian military equipment to Saudi Arabia during his appearance on the popular French-language talk show “Tout le monde en parle,” which aired Sunday night on Radio-Canada.
The Bloc Quebecois leader seized on Trudeau’s statement that the deal was “not an agreement between the government of Canada and Saudi Arabia.”
“It’s an agreement between a manufacturing company here in Canada and Saudi Arabia,” the Liberal leader told host Guy A. Lepage during the pre-taped interview.
The Bloc Quebecois leader said Monday that Trudeau’s statement was false because it downplayed the role of the federal government in brokering the deal.
“When he tells us it’s a private company only, he’s lying to us because it was done under the auspices of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a crown corporation,” Duceppe said.
“Therefore, the Canadian government is directly involved in this transaction,” Duceppe said.
Furthermore, he accused the Liberal leader of misleading the population by claiming the deal involves “Jeeps.”
Campaigning in front of about 70 supporters in Mont-Laurier, Que., Duceppe brandished a picture of the light-armoured vehicle in question, an eight-wheeled vehicle usually equipped with either submachine guns or mortars. Some armies describe it as an assault vehicle.
“Do you see Jeeps like this on (route) 117?” he asked. “Have you ever seen a Jeep like that?”
Trudeau did not elaborate on his characterization of the vehicle Monday after being questioned by several reporters while campaigning in Ottawa.
Trudeau said he would not cancel the deal, but reiterated his party’s pledge to make Canada a signatory to the United Nations arms trade treaty.
Duceppe’s stop in Mont-Laurier concluded a blitz of several Quebec cities, where the Bloc leader pushed the message that his party could hold the balance of power in an eventual minority government.
To do this, the party is hoping to win a minimum of 12 seats, the threshold required for recognition as an official party in the House of Commons.
Pierre Saint-Arnaud, The Canadian Press